An official claims he spotted a hive on airside of new international airport

Honey bees. That is the new problem the Chennai airport has to deal with.

On May 29, passengers on board a Jet Airways flight from Chennai to New Delhi watched a swarm of bees buzzing around an aircraft wing. View the video here.

One of the passengers, Amartya Basu (25), said the flight was delayed by 15 minutes due to the bees.

“The pilot announced the delay was caused by an invasion of honey bees from a hive near the parking bay. We could see fire tenders but they did not spray water. Instead, the pilot taxied on the runway and the bees dispersed. Soon after that, the aircraft took off,” he said. However, Jet Airways officials said they were not aware of any such incident.

An official of Airports Authority of India (AAI) said, “Just a few days ago, I spotted a hive on the airside of the new international terminal. I’m not sure if it has been removed,” he said.

“It is not the first time we hear of such things; other airports have also been plagued by bee attacks. I will ensure this issue at the Chennai airport is addressed at the earliest,” said an air safety official based in Delhi.

Another air safety official expressed the belief that removing a beehive provides only a temporary solution. “Bees have a tendency to return to the spot, sooner or later,” the official said.

A professional beekeeper said bees usually form a hive in an environment where the temperature is about 25-30 degree Celsius. “It is difficult to say what attracts bees to the aircraft. The availability of some sugary substance in any of the food stalls close to the airport could be a reason. Or, it could be certain types of plants and flowers inside the airport,” he said.